You already know how good Prince’s tribute during the BET awards was. And we all know the creative development that Prince went through over the course of his career.
Now, I’d like to introduce you to Mishon.
The 17-year-old R&B/Rap artist and actor has been wowing audiences since he was seven years old and 10 ten years later he continues to develop his talents as a live performer. And after watching his impressive opening set at BET awards (video above), I was curious to learn how that experience impacted him and why performing live lets him be who he really is.
We’ve explored the battle between openers and headliners before.
But we’re not exploring battles this time. Maybe later.
For now, in this interview with Mishon, we’re going to explore the inspirational and creative elements that make up his live show.
We’re going to voyage inside the mind and heart Mishon to discover:
- What he overcame before his BET performance
- How his work as an actor on the TV show Lincoln Heights helped shape him
- What artists have inspired his fan-to-artist-transformation
- The studio-to-live-show insights surrounding the recording his forthcoming debut album The Yearbook.
LF: How have your experiences as an actor on Lincoln Heights helped you develop your live concert performance?
Mishon: Well, I was actually a singer before Lincoln Heights. I had performed in various venues around US and Canada. But acting and performing go hand in hand because you have to become someone else.
Over the last several years, you’ve performed on Showtime at the Apollo Kids Talent Search, Steve Harvey’s Apollo West and NBC’s “America’s Most Talented Kid. What would you say is the biggest similarity and the biggest difference, between being an actor and performing live in concert?
The difference is in acting I have to play roles that aren’t me. In singing, even though I take it up a notch, on stage it’s still who I am.
How was your experience in the studio recording your debut album The Yearbook been different from performing the album’s tracks live at the BET awards?
I’ve enjoyed being able to share the music we made in the studio with my fans. I’m always learning how much work it takes, around 2-6 hours, to finish one song. Performing is one of my favorite things. Every time I get on stage, my goal is to bring energy and that energy always comes right back from the audience. That’s what I do this for.
What did you learn the most during your opening performance at the BET awards?
It was a pleasure to perform at the awards. I was supposed to hook up my electric guitar but we had a small problem that wouldn’t allow it. So I learned to expect the unexpected.
At the age of seven you surprised your family—and yourself—when you belted out a moving rendition of Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” at your great-grandfather’s funeral. You’ve said that that moment helped you to break out of your shell. What other moments, or in what other ways, have your favorite artists influenced your live performance style since then?
When I was 10 years old I used to watch Usher and Michael Jackson DVD’s before a show. I studied how they captivated the crowd and demanded the stage. I was also intrigued on how they were able to sing live and dance at the same time. So I guess I learned true showmanship from them.
What was it like for you during the BET Michael Jackson and Prince tributes?
The tributes were great, I thought Chris did a good job. The light show was my favorite part. I think next year Me, Usher, Chris and Omarian should come together and give the world the greatest tribute ever. Prince is another inspiration. He’s so talented and to put on a great show while playing instruments is remarkable. Being that the awards were around the time we lost MJ and Prince was being honored, I wanted to put together a performance that celebrated both legends.
Thank you to Mishon for sharing his story and concert experiences. You can check out his latest mp3 releases and videos on:
What Do You Think…
is the most important element, skill or talent an opening artist needs to develop besides his musical ability?
Who have been some of your favorite, or most surprising, opening acts this year?